Thursday, January 15, 2009

Flashback Friday

My great-grandfather, Chicago, circa 1945?

It's hard for me to express what a treasure this photograph is to me. It is new to my collection, sent to me last week by my mother's cousin. I had never seen a photograph of my great-grandfather before -- I certainly never met him, either. To see his face is to see the face of one of his daughters, my grandmother. This came in an envelope with other treasures, all appreciated, but this is the most special.

I had sent, for the first time, a letter and Christmas card to my mother's cousin last month. My mother speaks of him often; they are the last two of their generation in this particular line of the family. He and I share an interest in family history and I know I've found a friend with whom many letters and stories will be shared. He is in his 70s, so I'm particularly grateful to have made this connection now.

Are there people in your family to whom you could reach out? I heartily recommend doing it. I'll be honest and say I had less favorable results a while back when I reached out to extended family on my dad's side; the person I reached was in fact not directly family but the husband of my dad's one surviving cousin and he was an angry man with an agenda (which my dad would have warned me, I know). But you know what they say about one bad apple not spoiling the whole bunch. So I hit one dead end but this time found a wide open path and reclaimed some family. A magnificent way to begin a new year.


Natalie said...

I am so happy for you... for the photograph and for making a special connection. It's wonderful.

Natalie said...

One more thing... I saw this and immediately thought of you:

Lesley said...

That's a wonderful new link into your family.
A few years ago, I had a letter out of the blue from my dad's sister. They had been estranged as children (parents divorced, girls went one way and my dad went another — long story).
I was so thrilled to hear from her, my aunt, and hear all about my cousins in the UK.
The older I grow, the more important family connections are.